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Author Topic: Middle school student suspended for touching pill
philnotfil
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Louisville WAVE 3 TV
quote:
The parents of a Kentuckiana seventh grade student say their young daughter was suspended from school for doing exactly what she's been taught to do for years - to just say no to drugs.

The girl did not bring the prescription drug to her Jeffersonville, IN school, nor did she take it, but she admits that she touched it and in Greater Clark County Schools that is drug possession.

quote:
"She was talking to another girl and me about them and she put one in my hand and I was like, ‘I don't want this,' so I put it back in the bag and I went to gym class," said Rachael.
quote:
According to Greater Clark County Schools district policy, even a touch equals drug possession and a one week suspension.

quote:
We wanted to know what would have happened if Rachael had told a teacher right away. Bell said the punishment would not have been any different. District officials say if they're not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.
No one takes them seriously because they are silly, strictly enforcing them just makes it worse.
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asmalls4
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That is really silly. I would think they would be applauding her for "just saying no". Good for that girl for not giving in to peer pressure. I would be high fiving that kid!
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scifibum
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*headdesk*
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TommySama
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Gotta keep the kids safe.

""I'm proud her conscience kicked in and she said, ‘No, I'm not taking this. Here you can have it back,'" Patty Greer said."

What a moron.

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scifibum
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Why is that statement moronic, Tommy?
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RickyB
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Because he pretends as though she proved that she "wanted the drug" by "touching it", and then her conscience "kicked in", when in fact her not wanting the drug seems to have been steady all along. If you can be found guilty for someone shoving something in your hand which you immediately reject - that just makes no sense.
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scifibum
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Greer is the kid's mom, and is against the punishment. If an administrator defending the punishment said that, it would be moronic.
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cherrypoptart
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I'm glad I just put my finger really, really close to it as I pointed at it and screamed, "I'm not touching it! I'm not touching it!"

This may be going a little too far even for me, but sometimes pertinent details seem to "inadvertently" get left out for 'dramatic effect."

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aupton15
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This seems like a great teaching opportunity for the parents. A suspension is really only a punishment if it comes with other consequences at home anyway, so why not turn it into a vacation? Good job doing the right thing, we're going to have fun with this unexpected week off! It also provides a good example of how to deal with dumb decisions that you can't change, which is very likely to come up in this girl's life again. Maybe she could go to work with her dad and give the okay for pilots to take off...wait, wrong story.
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Pyrtolin
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Zero tolerance generally translates to zero intelligence. Properly enforcing a rule involves always looking at the context of the incident in question and asking "Is this what the rule was trying to accomplish?" There was a pretty clear failure to do that here, hiding behind the strictness of the rule to avoid accountability.
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scifibum
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In a way, I'm grateful when this kind of policy is upheld. Someone decided that there would be a suspension for possession of prescription drugs, no matter what. This could have resulted from pressure from parents, or state legislation, or whatever. I'm guessing the policy is written with no leeway (a la "zero tolerance").

So, by enforcing it, the ridiculousness of allowing no reason to intrude on policy is highlighted. Everyone can see that Rachael doesn't deserve a punishment, and even if she had zealously ratted out her classmates she'd be in the same trouble. Such a stark example ought to show people that "zero tolerance" and similarly conceived rules are stupid. It ought to show fearful parents that next time it might be their own kid who gets screwed by the system. It ought to make an effective anecdote for debate by officials.

Of course, Rachael is still screwed. And the administrator who defends the policy, and frets about sharpening its teeth, instead of acting reasonable (if his hands are tied, they're tied), is still a moron.

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scifibum
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aupton15, I like your idea for how the parents should handle it, but I'm disturbed that such a thing will haunt the girl's "record" in the future. Hopefully they can take advantage of the PR and find sympathetic allies with colleges etc.
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edgmatt
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I'm with Pyrtolin's assessment.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Zero tolerance generally translates to zero intelligence. Properly enforcing a rule involves always looking at the context of the incident in question and asking "Is this what the rule was trying to accomplish?" There was a pretty clear failure to do that here, hiding behind the strictness of the rule to avoid accountability.

Isn't that the whole purpose for these policies? So that schools and school officials won't get sued when a kid does have something bad happen to them because they took a friend's prescription drug at school?
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Pyrtolin
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Very likely. And we can see just how brain dead the results of such a cowardly position turn out. Instead of making smart decisions and maintaining accountability for mistakes, they're making the rules more important than the people and setting a bad example all around.
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Dave at Work
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Maybe we should fight zero tolerance with zero tolerance. If a school administrator uses zero tolerance to punish a student when a reasonable person would not (as determined by a jury maybe?), the administrator should be suspended from his or her job without pay for as long as the student is punished. I know, there is no mechanism by which to enforce this, but if it could be done, maybe administrators would be more likely to buck the zero tolerance system we have built up.
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TommySama
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"Why is that statement moronic, Tommy?"

Uh, 1. she implied that the girl's conscience was not active before she handed back the pill 2. she seems to think there is some moral failing associated with taking a minor stimulant.

quote:
So, by enforcing it, the ridiculousness of allowing no reason to intrude on policy is highlighted. Everyone can see that Rachael doesn't deserve a punishment, and even if she had zealously ratted out her classmates she'd be in the same trouble. Such a stark example ought to show people that "zero tolerance" and similarly conceived rules are stupid. It ought to show fearful parents that next time it might be their own kid who gets screwed by the system. It ought to make an effective anecdote for debate by officials.
Word, brother. Heh. Little Ansche Hedgepeth got the transit authority to end its zero tolerance policy, but the USSC assured us that it was completely legitimate to arrest and book her for eating that French fry.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
"Why is that statement moronic, Tommy?"

Uh, 1. she implied that the girl's conscience was not active before she handed back the pill 2. she seems to think there is some moral failing associated with taking a minor stimulant.

1) Meh. Common turn of phrase.
2) Well, there can be. [Wink]

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cherrypoptart
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If the girl and her parents are really mad, they should be mad at the girl who started the chain of events by bringing the drugs to school. This is a way to allow peer pressure to take effect and have the good students make it clear to the bad apples that they want nothing to do with this.

Of course this is all about preventing lawsuits, and one has to wonder if it has been successful in that goal. I would think that it has. Is it worth a few students being given a hard time if it saves Americans across the country hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes that would go toward settling frivolous lawsuits? Are the same people who support suing everyone for everything, anytime and anywhere now complaining about the zero tolerance policies that were the only defense against lawsuit abuse? Or am I too cynical? Or not cynical enough? Do they want zero tolerance policies to go away so they can start suing schools again like in the good old days?

This case also goes to show how unsafe for children our public schools still are. You can't trust the molester teachers. And as I've always said, probably the people in the public schools you can trust the least with your children are the other kids. Giving out drugs like that... it's very dangerous. How often are we reminded by marijuana advocates that prescription drugs kill more people every year that illegal drugs? Just look at Michael Jackson. This situation shouldn't be taken so lightly. As Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it. In the bud.” Come down on them hard for chewing gum like they used to in the old days and then hopefully you won’t see people getting shot and stabbed to death in our public schools so much.

By the way, it seems fair to ask what the correct student response in this situation would have been. Obviously, Rachael, with wide eyed bewilderment at the sight of drugs in her presence, should have immediately ran around in circles, flailed her arms wildly, and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Drugs! Drugs! DRUGS!!!" And maybe throw in a Howard Dean scream for good measure, just in case.

-----------------------------------------

Of course, I don't particularly care that much about this case specifically and to some extent have to feign my righteous indignation, but I'm a little bored and want to play devil's advocate. If I don't, who will? And the echo chamber here got to be a little repetitive. So don't get mad at me. I'm doing you all a favor. And yes, you’re welcome.

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scifibum
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That's a pretty jumbo-sized echo you offered to cut down on the echoing, cherry. [Wink]

(Edit: and then you had to go and delete it.)

Yeah, obviously in hindsight she should have recoiled from anything that looked vaguely pill like and screamed "unclean! unclean!" at the top of her lungs.

Or, perhaps, she could have cut off the hand that held the pill. If it's no longer part of her person, can the remaining she really be said to have had possession?

[ March 11, 2010, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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cherrypoptart
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"The Hand"

That might create more problems. Michael Caine just lost his in an accident. This one could be even more mad, plus it would be hopped up on drugs.

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Pete at Home
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Whoever invented "zero tolerance" is going to share a small room in hell with the chumps that invented line dancing and house music.
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